MathTime fonts for TeX

By default TeX uses the Computer Modern fonts designed by Don Knuth in the 80s. They have served mathematicians well for many years, but after all this time they look somewhat tired.

In response to this, the LaTeX maintainers are now providing several styles which replace Knuth's text fonts (Computer Modern Roman) with the more mainstream ones popularized by desktop publishing: Times, Helvetica, etc. If you use TeX to typeset memos or letters you may want to try using one of these styles:

\usepackage{avantgar}   % Avantgarde
\usepackage{bookman}    % Bookman
\usepackage{chancery}   % Zapf Chancery, \textit only
\usepackage{charter}    % Charter
\usepackage{courier}    % Courier, \texttt only
\usepackage{helvetic}   % Helvetica, \textsf only
\usepackage{newcent}    % New Century Schoolbook
\usepackage{palatino}   % Palatino
\usepackage{times}      % Times
\usepackage{utopia}     % Utopia
The problem with these styles is that they still use Knuth's old CM fonts for mathematics, and the end product doesn't look good: the text is much heavier than the symbols, letter shapes in normal type and in the math slanted style are different, and so on. There is a set of commercial fonts, MathTime, which we just bought and which are matched to the Times text font.

Note that even though MathTime fonts are becoming popular, and some journal and book publishers use them, they are a commercial product which some Math departments may not have. So if you use these in documents distributed to others, chances are that they will have to disable MathTime, thus obtaining a different looking (standard TeX) output.

The way in which these fonts are used depends on the version of TeX. Here are the suitable incantations for each. They should be placed somewhere near the top of the TeX file (in the preamble in case of LaTeX). If the document uses various AMS files such as amsmath, the commands listed below should be entered after the AMS inputs.

Plain TeX

\input mtmacs
LaTeX 2.09 (old)
\input mtlatex.tex
LaTeX 2e (current)
\usepackage[LY1]{fontenc}               % specify text font encoding
\usepackage[LY1,mtbold]{mathtime}       % switch math fonts

LaTeX 2e (teTeX-3.x, soon to be the default - June 2007)

With the free mathtime fonts provided in the TeX distribution:

\usepackage[LY1]{fontenc}               % specify text font encoding
(that's it, do NOT use the LY1,mtbold stuff anymore - it isn't needed, and in some cases can even make certain math characters disappear!)

However, this has its problems. The public domain version of mathtime apparently does not like \boldmath$...$, and makes certain characters such as [ ] ! : disappear in math mode! Because of this, our system has the commercial version of mathtime installed. But with that one you still need to use

If you are preparing a manuscript for publication using the mathtime fonts, check with the publisher's production department which version they want you to use. You should also provide the publisher with a copy of the manuscript in PDF format generated on our system, so they can compare it with their output to see if there are any problems with bold math italic and other characters mentioned above.

The department will likely continue buying the commercial version of the fonts, but again, please keep in mind that other sites may not have them installed.